PORTAGE | The city's Redevelopment Commission this week approved the hiring of Skillman Corp. as the construction management firm overseeing the planning and construction of a new street department facility.
The Merrillville firm was one of five presenting proposals to the commission. Others were Brandt Construction of Schererville, Fidelis of Hobart, ACMS Group of Crown Point and Gariup of Gary.
Portage Economic Development Adviser John Shepherd said it is helpful to hire a construction management firm before awarding a contract for design and engineer to make the project more cost-effective from the start.
The city will negotiate a price with Skillman for its services.
Skillman representatives at the commission's November meeting made a presentation on the proposed facility on the present 9-acre site just off Hamstrom Road and north of Central Avenue.
The preliminary plan calls for the razing of all buildings on the site except for the salt storage shed and Utility Department facility. Six new buildings and two lean-to structures are planned. The estimated cost for the project is between $7.1 million and $7.8 million.
The project would include a new office/break room/locker room building on the far west end of the complex and a new maintenance building, sign shop, vehicle garage, drainage building, salt storage facility and two lean-to structures. The new construction would add about 20 bays to put all department vehicles under roof.
The present salt storage structure would be turned into a bulk storage facility. The easternmost 3.5 acres would be cleaned, fenced and stone would be laid.
The facility would be surrounded by a landscaped buffer.